A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
What starts as a simple trip to the dentist turns into the adventure of a lifetime when William's tooth picks up radio frequencies from outer space. Although this brief novel is short on depth, it's got wacky humor to spare, with imaginative, absurd details that will make kids laugh out loud.
Is it any good?
Too sophisticated to be an early reader, too short to appeal to many older readers, this novel is aimed right at middle-grade kids with a certain brand of off-beat humor. Pinkwater's novels win fans among kids with a cynical bent, and this one is no exception. He toys with the conventions of the sci-fi novel, with fashion-impaired aliens who attack Earth because "spacemen always invade places." Worldwide panic results when the spacemen threaten earth's supply of doughnuts and cheeseburgers, and readers familiar with recent disaster movies will chuckle at this parody of the genre.
This novel makes up in bizarreness what it lacks in depth; William himself is not a developed character, and his parents and teachers are mere buffoons. Wildly imaginative details such as the spacemen's plaid jackets and hamburger-shaped spacecraft, however, make such weaknesses seem less significant as they set young readers' imaginations free.